Why you should be careful using public Wi-Fi

Why you should be careful using public Wi-Fi

Your personal information could be exposed.

By Web Report/IANS

Published: Mon 7 Aug 2017, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Aug 2017, 4:55 PM

If you travel frequently, you invariably use the available public WiFi connections - be it the one at the hotel lobby or in a shopping mall. It may never have occurred to you that some of these public WiFi networks could be unsafe. You may wonder- how? Because even a seemingly harmless activity like checking your email could get your personal information exposed.
Many technical experts are sounding a pertinent caution: it is not safe to use public WiFi networks for official work, sensitive data or transferring funds. If you shrug off this warning, you do so at your own peril.
With mounting cyber threats, Dubai Police has also recently issued a warning about the dangers of using public WiFi connections. They warned that cyber criminals were taking advantage of unencrypted networks, cautioning the public from opening any link or attachment they received via e-mail or SMS from unknown or suspicious source. You can report any suspicious links by writing a mail to mail@dubaipolice.gov.ae.
A recent report by Russia-based software security group Kaspersky Lab said business travellers - particularly senior executives - were more likely to be deprived of valuable private and corporate data than money as they travel abroad.
It said the pressure from work to get online is clouding the judgment of business travellers when connecting to the internet. One has to remember that any device they operate - be it laptop, mobile phone or the internet - could be at risk while transferring sensitive data or sending official mails.
So, how does one ward off the danger?
First, treat all public WiFi links with suspicion. It is safe to turn off file/computer/network sharing and avoid using specific websites where there's a chance that cyber criminals could capture your identity, passwords or personal information.

According to information available on Norton website, one has to follow certain steps before using the public WiFi. Here's the list:
Public WiFi
Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels - and it allows you to access the Internet for free. These 'hotspots' are so widespread and common that people frequently connect to them without thinking twice. The Norton report says that even though it sounds harmless to log on and check your social media account or browse some news articles, reading e-mail, checking your bank account, or performing any activity that requires a login is risky business on public WiFi.
Types of public Wi-Fi
There are basically two kinds of public WiFi networks: secured and unsecured. An unsecured network can be connected to within range and without any type of security feature like a password or login.
A secured network requires a user to agree to legal terms, register an account, or type in a password before connecting to the network. It may also require a fee or store purchase to gain access to the password or network.
Regardless of the connection type, you should always use public WiFi with caution.
Dos and don'ts:
How to stay safe on public WiFi
The best way to know your information is safe while using public WiFi is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service. However, if you must use public WiFi, follow these tips to protect your information.

. Allow your Wi-Fi to auto-connect to networks
. Log into any account via an app that contains sensitive information. Go to the website instead and verify they are using HTTPS before logging in
. Leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on if you are not using them
. Access websites that hold your sensitive information, such as financial or healthcare accounts
. Log onto a network that isn't password protected

. Disable file sharing
. Only visit sites using HTTPS
. Log out of accounts when done using them
. Use a VPN. Norton WiFi Privacy now provides a VPN that encrypts all information on public Wi-Fi, making your public connection private.

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